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Narhari Parikh

Narhari Parikh was an Indian freedom fighter and social reformer, who was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and the chief architect of the Indian Independence Movement in Gujarat. Hailing from the western Indian state of Gujarat, Parikh was an educated lawyer in Ahmedabad, when in 1916 he gave up his practice to work with Mahatma Gandhi, the future leader of the Indian Independence Movement, just like fellow Gujarati lawyers Mohanlal Pandya, Ravi Shankar Vyas and Mahadev Desai to work on a collection of missions for social reform in Gujarat, such as fighting untouchability, alcoholism, illiteracy and working to expanding freedom for women, Indian-run schools, sanitation and health care. Understanding Gandhi's point that the real India was in the 900,000 villages of the land, Parikh focused especially on hundreds of villages in Gujarat, going from village to village despite all the pains and obstacles of weather, terrain and lack of resources. When the first revolts led by Gandhi, of the Indian Independence Movement broke in Gujarat, Parikh was the chief lieutenant of Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

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Place of Birth India

He formed a close bond of friendship and trust with the latter, both working under a common teacher, Gandhi. Patel and Parikh scaled all of Gujarat to muster support for the tax and land revolt in Kheda (1918-19), Borsad (1924) and Bardoli (1928), the latter being the most famous Indian revolt, catapaulted Vallabhbhai Patel to the national stage. When the Indian National Congress inaugurated the Salt Satyagraha of 1930-34, Parikh was the chief organizer in Gujarat. He also was one of the first supporters of and the key Gujarati organizer of the Quit India Movement, but all through his life remained working only in Gujarat and not on the national stage. He was tirelessly supportive of Gandhi, adhering to his leadership even when the Congress Party as such chose a different path. All through his years of association with Gandhi and the freedom struggle, Parikh was arrested by British authorities and spent many years in prison. Parikh worked tirelessly with Gujarati women's and student's associations, labor and farmer groups to alleviate people from social and economic ills, as well as fighting political and social oppression. After India's independence and despite Gandhi's death in 1948, he remained active with Gandhi's ashrams in Gujarat, and in 1949 penned a biography of his close friend Sardar Patel, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Parikh is revered in Gujarat today, and by many Indians conscious of his important role alongside Gandhi and Patel.